18 July 2008


If there were any justice in this world Spoonboy and I would star in our own sitcom. It would be predictable but heartwarming, the underlying premise being that we constantly disagreed about stuff but were still buddies, and every episode would start off something along the lines of:

Spoonboy: Well, see you later, Larry, I've got to go save the world.
Larry: What makes you think the world even needs saving? Or that whatever you do won't make it even worse?
Spoonboy: (Does trademark eye-roll, then picks up his guitar and goes into a song about how I'm an unwitting tool of the patriarchy.)
Larry: Aw, ya big lug, you may be wrong about everything, but dammit, ya got a heart of gold.

Or something like that. Obviously I'm not ready to make the big switch into sitcom-writing just yet, but with a little fine-tuning and a laugh track, I think it could work. Anyway, Spoonboy came through town the other night as part of his save-the-world solo tour that culminates with his attempts to shut down the American electoral system, or at least the Democratic and Republican conventions, and as flippant as I might sound about it (I'm still in sitcom mode, see), he put on an awesome, stunning show that you'd be well advised to see regardless of where you're situated on the political or cultural spectrum.

It might (probably) will entail peddling down to your local anarchist collective or info-shop, but provided you don't try to hand out John McCain (or, for that matter, Obama) pamphlets or question the natives about their bathing practices, you should come through the experience not only unscathed, but also with a greater appreciation for the diversity of opinion and expression that bubbles just under the surface of a seemingly placid (if not downright catatonic) society.

Try as I might, I haven't been able to get Spoonboy to explain how he got his somewhat curious nickname, saying only that it dates back to his days as a teenage ska fan, but I suspect the photo at left, posted by a fan on the PPMB, tells at least part of the story. While it might also portray the Spoonboy in a somewhat more frivolous light than you might expect given his current commitment to activism, it's worth noting that one of the things I like best about him is his sense of humor, which hasn't been dimmed by his intensely earnest views on everything from global capitalism to neighborhood community centers. And something which sets him distinctly apart from the majority of activists I've known.

"I go back and forth with him," says longtime friend Thomas, who's driving the tour car and in general acting as Sancho Panza to Spoonboy's Quixote. "I really love lots of his ideas and the passion he brings to them, but then I'm like, 'Wait a minute, how exactly would that work?'"

Which is pretty much exactly where I stand, with the minor difference of having had quite a few years to become disillusioned with the rather large gulf that generally emerges between anarchist theory and practice. Like Thomas, I really want Spoonboy's vision (well, at least the part where everyone lives in a more cooperative and healthier, happier environment) to come true, but am not quite sure how we get from here to there using the methods he seems to be endorsing.

But there's enough of a spark - and maybe more than just a spark - of genius about this young man that I wouldn't want to ignore the possibility - or even the hope - that he just might be right about some of these things. That, coupled with great reservoirs of idealism and compassion - qualities often in short supply these days - mark him out as someone worth watching not only for his prodigious musical talent, but as a real man among men, and someone who makes you feel a little bit better about just being alive.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"someone worth watching not only for his prodigious musical talent, but as a real man among men, and someone who makes you feel a little bit better about just being alive"

The opposite of Larry Livermore, then.